This one is a gift fic for fairykam.:) You're wonderful and amazing and a great friend, and I hope your weekend is fantastic!
This is an unintended (haha) sequel oneshot for "Home Fun" chapter 11.
Dragonwatch spoilers lie here!
Kendra couldn't sleep.
She sat in a chair next to the bed where Bracken laid, resting peacefully as she held his hand. He had yet to wake for more than a minute or two at a time. Every time he did stir, though, it was with a sudden jerk and a panic as he tried to assess where he was and – Kendra assumed – to figure out if he was safe. She calmed him at every occurrence; his last upset had been several hours ago, so she was hoping he would be alright.
It must've been getting somewhere close to dawn by now. Kendra released Bracken's hand and stretched her arms and legs, longing to exercise a bit to relieve the tension she felt.
The door opened and Warren peeked his head inside. "Hey," he began. "Why don't you go for a walk? I'll stay here with him."
Kendra glanced back at Bracken and bit her lip. What if he woke up again, and she wasn't there to help him?
Warren would be there. He would help.
But what if he needed more healing? What if he needed her magical abilities?
"I don't think so…" she hesitantly replied.
Warren rolled his eyes and walked completely inside the room. "Let me rephrase," he said, placing his hands on her shoulders. He guided her to stand, then led her to the door. "You're taking a break, you worrywart."
"Don't 'but Warren' me," he insisted. "Bracken is fine. He's just resting. You need to get out of this room. Go breathe some fresh air. Maybe get something to eat."
She put her hand on the door frame and twisted her body around so she could get another look at the sleeping unicorn. He did look like he was just resting, and his coloring was much more normal than it'd been when he'd first arrived.
Kendra sighed, then looked up at Warren who was clearly not going to let her back in. "Call for me if he wakes up?" she asked.
"Sure," he replied, then rubbed the top of her head and messed up her hair. She gave him an exasperated sigh and swatted at his hand in response, but truth be told… she was glad to have him there with her. Warren would take good care of their injured friend.
With one last glance at Bracken, Kendra left the room and went to bathe and change her clothes. She emerged feeling somewhat refreshed, but still couldn't shake the anxious feelings that she'd been harboring for days (weeks, really). In an effort to try and calm her mind enough to hopefully sleep for a few hours, she decided to go for a walk. The towers and walls of Blackwell Keep were poorly lit at night; however, that was hardly a problem for her. Plus, daybreak wasn't too far off – the sky was already lightening a little.
Two minutes into walking, she ran across someone else who was sitting on the ground, staring out at the slowly diminishing stars.
Her heart gave an achy lurch.
He noticed her approach. Neither of them said anything to the other for a moment, and then Seth broke the silence and returned his gaze to the sky.
"You couldn't sleep, either?" he asked.
"No," Kendra said. She didn't want to intrude on his solitude, but at the same time, she longed for his company. No matter how potentially painful the experience turned out to be… she needed to talk to him. "Is it alright if I sit with you?" she asked.
Seth looked like he hadn't expected her request. "Sure," he answered, gesturing to the ground next to him. She accepted his invitation and leaned her back against the wall behind them, bringing her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms around them.
"The sun will be rising soon," Kendra commented, trying to start a conversation.
"Yeah," came Seth's short reply.
"The view from here is really nice. You picked a good spot."
A somewhat awkward silence fell between them. Kendra didn't know what to say. The last time they'd seen each other (minus yesterday afternoon which didn't really count because it was so chaotic and Kendra had been wholly consumed with worry for her sick unicorn) was when Seth had nearly taken Bracken's first horn away from her. He'd actually chosen to leave it with her – an act which had clearly surprised them both.
Come on, Kendra… think of something…
"What was it like?" she asked. "Being around Ronodin so much?"
Seth turned his head toward her, as if trying to gauge her intentions, and then shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. I don't really have anything to compare it to."
Kendra considered his statement and tried to ignore the way that comment hurt her heart a little more. He didn't remember love. "Was he nice to you?" she asked.
Seth shrugged again. "I think so," he answered. "He taught me a lot about being a Shadow Charmer. Made sure I wasn't hungry. I had a comfortable place to sleep. And he didn't hurt me."
"But?" Kendra prompted. Her brother sounded conflicted.
"He told me I was his brother," Seth continued. "When I found out that he was a unicorn, I asked him how we could be brothers since I'm human, and he said he'd rescued me a long time ago and we'd chosen to be brothers. I don't know. Something about the way he said it just… seemed strange to me, I guess."
"He kept telling me things about myself that could be true, I guess, but I'm not sure. Maybe I really was like that before I forgot everything. I don't feel that way now, though."
"What do you mean?" Kendra was genuinely curious to know what kinds of lies Seth had been told.
Seth paused for a moment before continuing. "He didn't help people. No… more than that. I did some things that hurt people. It didn't… it didn't sit well with me. It didn't feel right. But he was my brother, and he knew what was best, right?"
He seemed to be genuinely asking Kendra that question. She thought carefully about her response before she delivered it. "Well… you already know where I stand," she started. "Ronodin is a liar, and you're actually my brother. By blood." She shifted her position so that her legs rested straight out in front of her. "We've always lived together. I don't even remember a time when you weren't part of my life. We're less than two years apart in age."
Seth appeared to be listening intently, clinging onto every word she said. "What made you decide to leave Ronodin?" she asked.
He shook his head as though to derail his train of thought. "Uh… Bracken helped, actually. He was patient, and he encouraged me to think twice about everything. He corroborated your story. And he told me that I was a hero."
"You are," Kendra confirmed instantly. Seth shot her an expression which clearly told her that he wasn't sure he believed her, then continued talking.
"I already had doubts about Ronodin, and talking with Bracken kind of added to those doubts. Ronodin does what he wants. It just doesn't feel right.
"And then he wanted me to take the unicorn from you. I didn't think I'd have a hard time with that. He told me that you'd stolen it from him in the first place; I was just going to take back what was rightfully his. But you… You were helpless. Defenseless. And you begged me not to take it away. You told me it was Bracken's horn, not Ronodin's. You were so earnest. You seemed so… genuine. I couldn't take it from you. Not without getting some of my questions answered first."
"How did Ronodin react?"
Seth crossed his legs and forcefully rubbed his face, then ran his hands through his hair. "He was furious."
"Did he… did he hurt you?"
I will kill him if he did.
"No," Seth said. Then he added, "I don't want to talk about it. Tell me about… about me. Us. Our family. Please."
Kendra almost pushed him for more details, but the pleading look in his eyes forced her hand. She dropped the subject.
"Well… our family lived in Rochester until a couple of years ago. You were always getting into trouble, ever since I can remember. Mom always said that you were too curious for your own good. Dad always said that he didn't know what he was going to do with you."
"What kind of trouble?"
She smiled. "All sorts. Well… not like drugs and stuff. More like… pranks, and general disobedience. You'd get caught doing something you weren't supposed to be doing, and then you'd try and argue your way out of punishment. Your arguments didn't usually work, but you did get away with some things once or twice… which probably didn't help. Mom told you that you should become a lawyer when you grow up."
He's listening. To everything.
"We used to fight a lot. Mostly about stupid stuff. But… things changed a few years ago. We stopped fighting each other and started fighting together against other people. We were a real team." Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes. She couldn't help it. It'd been too long since she'd spoken with her brother, and while having him here with her was comforting, it also hurt her that he had no memory of her and everything they'd gone through together.
Seth looked at his toes. "I didn't mean to upset you," he said.
Kendra shook her head. "No, no… it's okay," she replied. "I'm just… it's hard. You're my best friend, Seth. My brother and my best friend. You drive me crazy and you're impulsive and you always have to learn lessons the hard way, but you also care so much about other people. You've always had a heart. I've missed you. I've missed you so much, it hurts."
"I guess I don't really know what to say," Seth stated after a brief pause. "I want to believe you. I want to believe that I'm a good person. But, Kendra…" he trailed off. "I've done some things I'm not proud of."
Ronodin will pay.
"It's not your fault that you've been manipulated. He took advantage of your situation. I know who you really are. You're kind and brave and reckless and so loud. You're so curious that I'm pretty sure the cat died like 27 lives ago. And you love to tease and torment me… but you're also reliable and confident. You're loyal, honest, dependable and creative. You're my brother. I swear to you, you're my brother, and whatever you've done or think you've done, that's not you. It's not the real you. I swear it."
"I want to help people."
"Yes. That's you. The real you. That's the Seth Sorenson I grew up with."
Stab my heart.
"Our last name," Kendra clarified.
"Seth Sorenson," he repeated, feeling how the words rolled off his tongue.
"The one and only," she stated. "There's no one else like you in this world, and I wouldn't want anyone else to be my brother anyway."
Seth smiled at her – a small, hesitant one, but a smile no less. "Well… it might be nice to have a sister for a change," he teased. Kendra reached out a hand and lightly shoved his shoulder.
The siblings sat in silence and watched as the sun finally rose above the horizon. They still had a long way to go, and more bridges to build between them, but Kendra had the feeling that they were off to a good start. She noticed that her heart felt less heavy than it had an hour or two ago.
Her brother was back. He may not remember her, but he was safe. She'd help him get his memories back, and they'd make new ones along the way. And if he never regained his memories? Well… he was her brother. She would never stop trying to help him.